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Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old September 20 2013, 01:14 AM   #1
Aldo
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Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge?

For years I've always wondered where the Enterprise-A bridge that was featured briefly at the end of TVH came from. Granted I realize "they build it" is the obvious answer, but I can't believe they'd build a set that was used for only a few minutes of screen time.

So I was talking with a friend today and he mentioned he'd heard it was a redress of the Excelsior bridge from part 3. I studied both pictures and it makes sense, seeing as they're both shot from the same angle (and I know the Excelsior bridge was only a small set that was built for what featured on screen).

I'm sure there is someone out there who can say for certain where this interesting set came from, that's only featured for a few minutes onscreen.
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Old September 20 2013, 01:22 AM   #2
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

It is the original bridge from TMP and TWOK painted white and given flatscreen consoles.
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Old September 20 2013, 01:24 AM   #3
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

^Good question! The Enterprise-A bridge is actually a redress of its predecessor's bridge rather than Excelsior. You can read more about it here in the Background section.

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Old September 20 2013, 01:32 AM   #4
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

That's interesting.

But now it brings up an even bigger question. If they still had the bridge from the original films, and it was in good working order, than why did they go to the trouble of building a brand new bridge for TFF? Especially since money was a big issue for that film.
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Old September 20 2013, 01:35 AM   #5
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

Aldo wrote: View Post
But now it brings up an even bigger question. If they still had the bridge from the original films, and it was in good working order, than why did they go to the trouble of building a brand new bridge for TFF? Especially since money was a big issue for that film.
Perhaps because TNG was using the original bridge set as its battle bridge and various other sets such as the Stargazer bridge, the science lab, and so forth. So it may not have been available for TFF.
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Old September 20 2013, 02:21 AM   #6
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

The text commentary for TFF explains TNG had had the TMP bridge stored outside and a tarp blew off, so it got rained on and ruined ... only structural elements and the helm/nav console got salvaged and reused.

I'm very happy with the TFF/TUC/EXC/E-B bridge, as I always hated the other one, especially those idiotic round displays. Even putting all of those casette tape box holder molds on the walls in TWOK to busy things up didn't help much, and the coloration was such that the actor complexions were rarely seen in a good light in 1-3.

Another way you could tell the TVH bridge was NOT EXCELSIOR was that it still had all the platforms, whereas the EXCELSIOR was a cheapo BUCK ROGERS season 2 like BRIDGE that looked like it could have been built in somebody's garage, w/o the elaborate levels.

The TVH bridge anticipates Abrams in a major way, as it delivers a glarey, godawful looking set that is not just hard on the eyes, but would be difficult to work in, between the brightness and the bit of smoke on the set. Yucch!
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Old September 20 2013, 03:30 AM   #7
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

^Wow. All those years of enduring Klingon and Romulan fire, and what finally wrecked the bridge was an unsecured tarp.
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Old September 20 2013, 01:15 PM   #8
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

trevanian wrote: View Post
The text commentary for TFF explains TNG had had the TMP bridge stored outside and a tarp blew off, so it got rained on and ruined ... only structural elements and the helm/nav console got salvaged and reused.
From what I have read 2 structural elements where the turbolift alcoves which survived for use in both the Enterprise A bridge (and then redressed as both the Excelsior and Ent B) before being pressed into service for the Enterprise E.

trevanian wrote: View Post

I'm very happy with the TFF/TUC/EXC/E-B bridge, as I always hated the other one, especially those idiotic round displays. Even putting all of those casette tape box holder molds on the walls in TWOK to busy things up didn't help much, and the coloration was such that the actor complexions were rarely seen in a good light in 1-3.
The TFF/TUC Bridge is my favourite from the TOS movies, my ideal TOS bridge would have been TFF but with the mix of touch screens, switches and buttons from TUC. I actually liked the Bridge more in TMP than WOK/TSFS especially the chairs but never liked how uneven it looked with so many of the crew standing.

The white looked so garish in TVH in a way that I personally dont see in the current Abrams version (but I know some do) and Im glad they changed it for the 5th installment.
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Old September 20 2013, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

Even without the damage from the rain, the bridge set would have been a decade (at least, I'm not sure if any of it was built for Phase 2) old by the time of Star Trek V and had never been intended for long term use, chances are it would have needed something of a major revamp and refresh even if it had survived. Espcially factoring in the advances in computer and video technology over the 80's.

To be honest, I wonder if it was starting to look a little worn before that, after the return to Earth at the start of III whenever we see the bridge it tends to either have very low lighting (a side affect of having to steal it seems to be they've set the cinematography to moody even before the Klingon's attack, plus it's use as the Saratoga in IV is all dark as well) or very carefully framed as the initial A bridge (where they could only afford/had the time to jazz up the bits you see on screen).

oddly, I think it's use as the Grissom is the last time we see the original bridge set in all it's brightly lit glory on the big screen. And even it's TNG reuses tend to keep the lighting much lower than was normal for that series (the difference between the battle and regular bridges on the D is quite striking).
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Old September 20 2013, 03:44 PM   #10
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
Even without the damage from the rain, the bridge set would have been a decade (at least, I'm not sure if any of it was built for Phase 2) old by the time of Star Trek V and had never been intended for long term use...
Actually the reason those sets endured for so long is because they were built for Phase II and thus were designed to be sturdy enough to hold up over the multiyear run of a TV series, as opposed to movie sets which are designed to be used for a couple of weeks and then torn down. The bridge, engineering, and other sets were built for P2 in 1978 and then redressed/upgraded for TMP. They were left continuously standing through the movie years, then were remodeled into the TNG sets and used for seven years in that incarnation, then were remodeled again into the Voyager sets and used for seven more years. By the time VGR ended in 2001, the 23-year-old superstructure of the sets was rotting and they had to be torn down. But at that point they had long since become the oldest continuously standing sets in Hollywood.

What was ruined, then, would've been the surface elements of the bridge only, the walls and consoles and seats and such. The underlying framework of the set endured through TNG, though it seemed to be gone by VGR.

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Old September 21 2013, 05:13 AM   #11
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
Even without the damage from the rain, the bridge set would have been a decade (at least, I'm not sure if any of it was built for Phase 2) old by the time of Star Trek V and had never been intended for long term use, chances are it would have needed something of a major revamp and refresh even if it had survived. Espcially factoring in the advances in computer and video technology over the 80's.
If you check out a copy of Shane Johnson's Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise (written during the production of TVH, predating TFF), there is an excellent section on the Enterprise-A, and particularly its bridge, with in-universe flavor-text detailing the "new" console-technology employed aboard the NCC-1701-A that was different from its predecessor -- touchpad controls, more advanced viewscreen technology, etc.

There are a number of close-up stills of the Voyage Home bridge, which makes for an interesting contrast with how the bridge evolved between the productions of TVH and TFF.


inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
To be honest, I wonder if it was starting to look a little worn before that, after the return to Earth at the start of III whenever we see the bridge it tends to either have very low lighting (a side affect of having to steal it seems to be they've set the cinematography to moody even before the Klingon's attack, plus it's use as the Saratoga in IV is all dark as well) or very carefully framed as the initial A bridge (where they could only afford/had the time to jazz up the bits you see on screen).
Only the "rear" arc of the bridge (meaning from the Science station, to the turbolift, and over to Uhura's console, plus the helm and the captain's chair) were actually built for TVH, in order to save money -- the "forward"-facing arc of the bridge was left unmade, with no viewscreen constructed for the Ent-A until Herman Zimmerman did so for TFF.
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Old September 21 2013, 05:29 AM   #12
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

You mean unmodified, as the set had long since been built.

It's also demonstrably false that only those few stations were redressed. In the film we only see the edge of the starboard turbolift stop, the wall behind Kirks chair, and the port turbolift stop to Uhura's console, plus Kirk's chair and the helm. We don't see Spock's station at all, but in this photo you see that the bridge was revamped well past Spock's station, which, added to the bits we see in the film, is nearly half the set.
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Old September 22 2013, 04:22 AM   #13
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

I think the set was really ruined by TNG. Afterall, even during the production of TFF, the set was being revamped and used as various ships on TNG. I am glad also that they just decided to build a whole new set.

That set took a lot of punishment. TMP, then the repaint and redress for STII, The explosions of the bridge simulator, explosions on the enterprise, and explosions on the reliant all in STII, The repaint and redress for STIII, then redress for the USS Grissom, then the big auto destruct explosions of the Enterprise In III, Then the redress for the uss saratoga and Yorktown in star trek IV, then the redress and repaint for Enterprise A in STIV, then there is the BAttle Bridge in TNG which a large portion of the set was redressed for then it was later redressed for stargazer, hatheway, Enterprise C, all the way to parts of it being used as the Pastuer in All Good Things. The Alcoves were still being used as the alcoves on the Enterprise E set all the way up to Nemesis in 2002. So I imagine by time it was over, that set was very very very very overused and worn.

Also, Is it me or is that design thing behind the bar in Ten Forward framed with the viewscreen frames from the TMP bridge set?
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Old September 22 2013, 10:38 AM   #14
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

On a slight tangent, is the bridge set in VI definitely a redress of the V one? It looks huge in V but cramped in VI. Is that really just an effect of the lighting and colour scheme?
trevanian wrote: View Post
Another way you could tell the TVH bridge was NOT EXCELSIOR was that it still had all the platforms, whereas the EXCELSIOR was a cheapo BUCK ROGERS season 2 like BRIDGE that looked like it could have been built in somebody's garage, w/o the elaborate
Although I see how cheaply it was made now, I still love the STIII Excelsior bridge. It looked absolutely huge and supremely advanced over the push-buttons and monitor screens of the Enterprise. The first time I saw STV, I thought, "oh cool, they've got Excelsior tech"

It's a shame that in VI the set was so obviously a slightly modified Enterprise. They didn't even change the colour scheme, and as a result it looked cramped and tiny. Add to that the bunk beds and removal of the quirky computer voice from III, and it didn't seem at all like the same mammoth supership we'd seen before.
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Old September 22 2013, 12:38 PM   #15
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Re: Was the Star Trek 4 Ent-A bridge a redress of the Excelsior bridge

On a slight tangent, is the bridge set in VI definitely a redress of the V one? It looks huge in V but cramped in VI. Is that really just an effect of the lighting and colour scheme?
I am pretty sure its the same set with modifications. (Mainly position of pieces and paint colors). Herman Zimmerman was designer for both setups.

It's a shame that in VI the set was so obviously a slightly modified Enterprise. They didn't even change the colour scheme, and as a result it looked cramped and tiny. Add to that the bunk beds and removal of the quirky computer voice from III, and it didn't seem at all like the same mammoth supership we'd seen before.
Actually, its more of a shame that the Ent-D was only a slight redress of the sets. (If you are referring to the corridores). If you will notice, the TMP corridores have always been cramped. TNG widened them, and when Nick Meyer came in, he wanted to make the wide corridores look cramped. He understood that the Enterprise IS NOT THAT BIG (hah i keep throwing that line at you lol) . If Anything can be said about Nick Meyer, he's very nautical.
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